Weekend Preview: Bute is back vs. Brinkley
LUCIAN BUTE VS. JESSE BRINKLEY
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / super middleweights
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Television: ESPN3.com (live), ESPN (Oct. 17, tape)
The backdrop: Bute (26-0, 21 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 1-rated super middleweight, stays busy in this mandatory alphabet title defense against Brinkley (35-5, 22 KOs), who is best known for his participation in The Contender. Few who watched Brinkley on that first season of the reality show thought the Nevadan would ever challenge for a major title, but the 33-year-old veteran is on a nine-bout win streak against mostly solid opposition, including an ESPN2-televised decision victory over Curtis Stevens (21-2, 15 KOs) in his last fight. The Lane brothers (Thomas and Terry of Let’s Get It On Promotions, the Reno-based company founded by their father, legendary referee Mills Lane) have done a commendable job keeping Brinkley busy and rehabilitating the fighter’s once-floundering career (along with trainer Peter Manfredo Sr.). Despite the “feel-good” story of Brinkley’s comeback, he’s a huge underdog against Bute, who has scored three impressive stoppages in a row against Fulgencio Zuniga (TKO 4), Librado Andrade (KO 4) and Edison Miranda (TKO 3). If the 30-year-old southpaw can get to Brinkley’s body the way he got to Zuniga and Andrade, he might make it four in a row.
Also fighting: Adrian Diaconu vs. Omar Sheika, 10 rounds, light heavyweights
Rating the card: B. The main event is not a significant 168-pound matchup but it’s worth watching. Bute is a borderline pound-for-pound talent and Brinkley is a seasoned professional who is coming to fight. The co-feature between Diaconu (26-2, 16 KOs) and Sheika (30-9, 21 KOs) should be exciting while it lasts, which hopefully won’t be for long since Sheika is badly faded. Once-beaten welterweight fringe contender Ionut Dan Ion, who many observers believe was robbed against Selcuk Aydin in his last fight, is also on the card.
ANOTNIO TARVER VS. NAGY AGUILERA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Miami, Okla.
The backdrop: Why is Tarver (27-6, 19 knockouts), who compiled a borderline hall-of-fame career at light heavyweight and is doing well with his Showtime commentating gig, venturing into the heavyweight division? Maybe the former light heavyweight champ, who turns 42 next month, is having a mid-life crises. Whatever the reason, it’s almost understandable that a seasoned veteran as skilled as Tarver looks at what passes for heavyweight “talent” and envisions himself as a potential player in the shallow division. If weight wasn’t such a factor Tarver would have a shot at fulfilling his quest. However, weight is a factor; so much so that even a mid-level prospect such as Aguilera (16-4, 11 KOs) poses a danger to Tarver, who hasn’t fought since back-to-back losses to Chad Dawson in 2008 and last May. Tarver has never weighed-in over 180 pounds for a professional fight. Aguilera, who is only 24, is in good shape at 230 pounds, and the Dominican Republic-born New Yorker has quick hands for a big man. Aguilera’s chin failed him against hard-punching Samuel Peter in March but it should hold out against the much-smaller Tarver, which means the older man might be in for a difficult night.
Also fighting: Shawn Porter vs. Hector Munoz, 10 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B-. The main event of this special ShoBox broadcast isn’t a fight that any fan asked for, but it might be an interesting boxing match if Tarver’s skill and experience neutralizes Aguilera’s size and youth. The co-featured bout between Porter (16-0, 12 KOs), who recently dropped down from junior middleweight, and Munoz (18-3-1, 11 KOs) might be fun while it lasts, but don’t expect it to go very long. Munoz, who is coming off KO losses to Mike Jones and Antonin Decarie, will likely suffer his third consecutive stoppage to an undefeated prospect.
ELOY PEREZ VS. DOMINIC SALCIDO
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior lightweights
Location: Indio, Calif.
The backdrop: Perez (18-0-2, 5 KOs), a crafty but athletic boxer who recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions, is beginning to make a name for himself in California. Salcido (18-2, 9 KOs), a speedy and unorthodox stylist, was considered one of Southern California’s most talented prospects before he suffered KO losses to Vicente Escobedo in September of 2008 and to journeyman Ilido Julio a year later. The 26 year old from Rialto, Calif., can salvage his career with a victory over Perez, who is coming off a Telefutura-televised stoppage of normally durable journeyman Derrick Campos. If Perez beats Salcido, as he has other young prospects such as David Rodela and Dannie Williams, he will advance to fighting 130-pound contenders next year.
Also fighting: Frankie Gomez vs. Ramon Montano, 6 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: B. This is a solid Solo Boxeo card. Perez and Salcido should make for an interesting boxing match and the co-featured bout between 18-year-old prospect Gomez (6-0, 6 KOs) and hardnosed veteran Montano (17-7-2, 2 KOs) is the first real step-up fight for the highly touted teenager from East L.A. Prospects Charles Huerta (featherweight), Randy Caballero (bantamweight), Seth Mitchell (heavyweight) and Deontay Wilder (heavyweight) are also on the card.
VITALI KLITSCHKO VS. SHANNON BRIGGS
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Television: ESPN3.com (live), ESPN (next-day tape)
The backdrop: Klitschko (40-2, 38 KOs), who only fought twice during his one-year title reign before taking four years off to pursue politics in his native Ukraine, is apparently making up for lost time with his second title run. The giant technician has fought five times since returning to boxing with his eight-round title-winning drubbing of Samuel Peter in October of 2008. While Klitschko’s desire to stay active is commendable his problem is that there aren’t enough quality contenders to go around for him and his younger brother Wladimir, THE RING champ. So Briggs (51-5-1, 45 KOs), a former titleholder and lineal champ with a name, gets the call from the bullpen. This fight is just business (particularly in Germany where the Klitschkos remain a draw), a stay-busy bout for Klitschko until Tomasz Adamek or David Haye are ready to face him or the 39-year-old veteran decides to go back into politics.
Also fighting: Ola Afolabi vs. Sandro Siproshvili, 10 rounds, cruiserweights
Rating the card: B-. Briggs, who has done nothing to deserve a shot an any title, might make it fun for a few minutes if he tries to blitz the better fighter, but regardless of what the New Yorker does the end result will be another one-sided victory for Klitschko. The cruiserweight co-feature between Afolabi (14-2-3, 6 KOs) and Siproshvili (24-6, 11 KOs) is a solid matchup. Undefeated heavyweight standout Alexander Ustinov is also on the card.
WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR. VS. IVAN HERNANDEZ
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior featherweights
Location: Kissimmee, Fla.
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is most famous son of a boxing legend but Vazquez Jr. (19-0-1, 16 KOs), the son of the former three-division titleholder from Puerto Rico, is arguably the best, which is impressive when one considers that Vazquez, like Chavez, did not have an amateur career. However, Vazquez, who turned pro only three years ago, learned his craft far quicker than Chavez as evidenced by his impressive stoppages of Marvin Sonsona, which earned him a vacant 122-pound title, and Zsolt Bedak, both of whom were unbeaten. Hernandez (28-4-1, 17 KOs), a rangy technician from Mexico City, has one claim to fame: an eighth-round KO of a badly faded Mark Johnson that earned him a 115-pound belt in 2004. Since that fight, Hernandez has been stopped every time he’s stepped up in class and weight as evidenced by his KO losses to Fernando Montiel, Israel Vazquez and Toshiaki Nishioka.
Also fighting: Patrick Majewski vs. Joseph Gomez, 8 rounds, middleweights
Rating the card: C. Vazquez Jr. is worth watching but this main event is strictly a showcase fight. The middleweight fight between Majewski (13-0, 8 KOs) and Gomez (17-2-1, 8 KOs) is solid. The rest of the PPV card features the sons of former Latin champs, including Guty Espadas Jr., Pipino Cuevas Jr., Carlos Zarate Jr., and Anthony LaPorte (son of former featherweight titleholder Juan LaPorte).
Also fighting on Saturday:
Julio Cesar Miranda, THE RING’s No. 8-rated flyweight, defends a 112-pound belt against Michael Arango in a scheduled 12-round main event in Monterrey, Mexico that will be televised (in the U.S.) on Fox Deportes.
Alexander Povetkin, THE RING’s No. 3-rated heavyweight, stays busy in a 10-round bout vs. limited former title challenger Teke Oruh in Chekhov, Russia.